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African American Studies Research Guide: Library Books & Reference

This guide includes links to article databases with search tips, places to get help with research, lists of helpful library reference books, and links to selected web sites and search engines.

Tips for Searching WorldCat: The Libraries Online Catalog

Use the Library Catalog, WorldCat to search for books in the WVU Libraries.

Try a Subject Heading search for "blacks" or "african american" to see a list of more specific subjects.

Subheading examples include:  

  • Alabama
  • Birmingham  
  • Families
  • Genealogy
  • Mass Media
  • Men

Use the a Advanced Search to combine topics like:

  • african american and poetry
  • malcolm x and biography

- in Advanced Search you can search "as a phrase":

  • slave narratives
  • hip hop

Reference Books

biographies | chronologies| culture and statistics
encyclopedias and dictionaries | literature | research guides

The links below enter a search in the Libraries Catalog. Many are available in multiple locations and formats. Look for the "electronic resource" phrase in the title if you want to access the content online.

If you have a book recommendation for this section, email your suggestion to Beth Toren at


African American art and artists
African American lives
African American national biography
African American women: a biographical dictionary
The biographical dictionary of Black Americans
A biographical history of Blacks in America since 1528
Dictionary of American Negro biography
Great American Negroes
Great negroes, past and present. Volume two
Notable Black American men
Who’s who among African Americans


The Black almanac: From involuntary servitude (1619-1860) to the age of disillusionment, 1964-1971
Blacks in America, 1492-1970; a chronology & fact book
The timetables of African-American history : a chronology of the most important people and events in
African-American history
Black saga : the African American experience
The chronological history of the Negro in America

Culture and Statistics

The African American education data book
African American firsts in science & technology
African American historic places
Black music in Ebony : an annotated guide to the articles on music in Ebony magazine, 1945-1985
Directory of predominantly black colleges and universities in the United States

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

The African American encyclopedia
Africana: the encyclopedia of the African and African American experience
Black women in America : an historical encyclopedia
Blacks in American films and television: an encyclopedia
Dictionary of Afro-American slavery
Dictionary of race and ethnic relations
Encyclopedia of African-American civil rights from emancipation to the present
Encyclopedia of African-American culture and history
Encyclopedia of African American history, 1619-1895 : from the colonial period to the age of Frederick Douglass
Encyclopedia of Black America
Encyclopedia of urban America: the cities and suburbs
The Negro almanac


African American authors, 1745-1945 : bio-bibliographical critical sourcebook
African American women playwrights: a research guide
African American writers
Afro-American fiction writers after 1955
Afro-American poets since 1955
The Afro-American short story
Afro-American writers, 1940-1955
Afro-American writers after 1955: dramatists and prose writers
Afro-American writers before the Harlem renaissance
Afro-American writers from the Harlem Renaissance to 1940
Black American playwrights, 1800 to the present : a bibliography
Black American poets and dramatists : before the Harlem renaissance
Black American poets and dramatists of the Harlem Renaissance
Black American prose writers before the Harlem renaissance
Black American prose writers of the Harlem renaissance
Black American women novelists : an annotated bibliography
Black American writers past and present : a biographical and bibliographical dictionary
Black authors: a selected annotated bibliography
Black plots & black characters: a handbook for Afro-American literature
Black writers : a selection of sketches from Contemporary authors : contains more than four hundred entries on twentieth-century black writers, all updated or originally written for this volume
Contemporary African American novelists : a bio-bibliographical critical sourcebook
Contemporary Black American playwrights and their plays : a biographical directory and dramatic index
Harlem Renaissance and beyond : literary biographies of 100 Black women writers, 1900-1945
Index to Black American writers in collective biographies
Masterpieces of African-American literature
Masterplots II. African American literature series
More Black American playwrights : a bibliography

Research Guides

Literary research guide
The Harlem Renaissance: an annotated reference guide for student research
Index to Afro-American reference resources
Reference library of Black America